Last week, headed to the Lanesplitter for a Tune-Up, quite by accident I ended up seeing the Ditty Bops at the Freight and Salvage.

I’m glad I did. The music was sweet and smart and catchy. But music aside, the show was eye-opening. Bono, step aside: Here’s the new standard for what it means for musicians to engage in activism.

At Vote Solar, we are periodically invited to table at shows where big name acts have decided to incorporate an activism component to their tour. It’s kind of them to do — but unless the artist is willing to talk about your issue from the stage, we’ve found that we might as well set up in front of a supermarket. People come to shows to get drunk and have a good time — they are not generally interested in talking about, say, the importance of net metering policies.

And not to dis themed benefit concerts like Farm Aid, Live Aid, Live Earth, Tibet Freedom Concert, etc. Raising money and awareness is a good thing, irrespective of whether the bands that participate live what they preach.

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But the Ditty Bops take it to a whole new level:

  • They tour by bike.
  • They raffle off an Earth Box at every show.
  • First set, they come out wearing clothes homemade out of plastic bags.
  • Second set, they dress up like carrots and rutabagas.
  • Their scheduled tour takes them to farms to play for goats.

Yes, I know. On paper, this sounds like something that makes you want to burn your tie-dye and stop recycling out of spite. But they are so freakin’ cute on stage, so obviously in love with each other and what they are doing, so committed to the cause through and through, so well-versed in what they are trying to achieve, and so sexy in their plastic grocery bags, that, well, it makes you want brush up on your harmonica skills, hop on a bike, and see if you can catch up to them at the next goat farm.

And isn’t that really the power of celebrity? To use charisma to model better behavior?

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